Don goes from rock-bottom to the very top
I worked as a Senior Developer for an investment bank for over 20 years but in 2019, I was made redundant.
It was such a huge shock to the system, I felt completely disempowered and depressed. The doctor referred me to talking therapies, but in the meantime, I began applying for jobs. I worked briefly as a commodities trader, but it was literally the worst job I could ever pick. When I left that job, I found myself sinking very, very fast. However, in spite of everything I thought, I need to get out of this hole myself.
When I went to talking therapies, CBT was useful but the therapist and I both agreed I needed something else. She informed me I could either be referred for more counselling sessions, or see an employment specialist. That’s when I found out about Twining Enterprise, I never knew this service even existed, but I’m so glad it does.
My employment specialist Ahmed really helped me. I realised I wasn’t alone. There were other people going through similar circumstances; especially during the pandemic.
He also quickly realised what state I was in. I was applying for so many jobs, but kept getting a similar response: ‘You’re not good enough, you are not good enough’. It was so hard to take, you begin to believe it. Is it true? Perhaps I am not good enough. To work for over 20 years at an investment bank and now suddenly to be told I’m not good enough, I felt so down. Ahmed reminded me that in regard to all these companies, that was their perspective. I know my own value.
We soon set out for work. He was impressed my CV, but we made another version. This one was better, as we were able to tweak it to better reflect my current situation. In 2020 from March to September the employment market was absolutely dead. Nothing coming through. This was incredibly frustrating, but by working with Ahmed, together, we were building the foundations for me to be ready.
I was able to see, that I was putting too much pressure on myself, I just needed to take some time out. I didn’t do much in July and August, but after that I hit the recruitment trail hard.
I applied for 80 jobs and got 40 rejections! I got 40 interviews but was rejected for all of them. It was so demoralising. The IT Market these days is ridiculous, they want coders, but choose style over substance. As a result, it’s all very subjective, and companies can have you jumping through hoops, only to say no. Some of these interviews were horrible. They dragged on for weeks, and consisted of multiple stages and tests. Ahmed said, ‘do your best, if it’s not for you, we’ll move on to the next opportunity.’ I followed his advice, but was very unsuccessful.
In the winter of 2020, I was checking in with Ahmed about once every two-weeks. He was staggered my determination. Just before Christmas, I applied for a role at mobile phone company, the interview process dragged on 8 weeks and involved 5 interviews. When it came to the test, I had panic attack. I remember looking out the window everything went grey. Even at the end of this process, they turned around and told me we just don’t think you are at the level of senior developer. At that point I just gave up. Ironically, I switched off and didn’t do anything. It was right around Christmas time; funnily enough it was perhaps the best two weeks of my life as I stopped trying.
In January the market picked up, I had 12 interviews. It was at this point I got two offers! Ahmed reminded me that I had a choice. To push back where appropriate and don’t be pressurised into making a decision until I felt sure. I realise now that the reason I was feeling so stressed, was because I felt like I no longer had any control over my situation. Ahmed helped me get my confidence back, and made realise I can deal with uncertainty, I can deal with not knowing what’s going to happen. Ultimately, I have skills which will help me bounce back.
The interview for this new role which was for an e-commerce company, actually, involved being watched while I was programming. As you can imagine it’s a very unnatural situation, and I was so nervous. Ahmed told me before hand you can do this! He gave me meditation techniques to help me relax, and helped me confront my fears. When I got the job Ahmed said I’d hit the jackpot. I couldn’t believe it. Actually at the last weekend, I had an emotional moment. I was out of work for over a year – it’s a long time, and it was a long journey to get back. However, with Ahmed’s help I did it!
He told me you can have your commute, have your skills, have your salary, and have your wellbeing. You’ve gone through this process, and now you’ve come through to the other side.
Twining Enterprise, and Ahmed especially helped me, and they are also now helping another family member who was hit hard by the pandemic. She worked for an industry that was particularly and was subsequently made redundant. Ahmed is helping to get her back to where she wants to be. I realise now, that I’m in a better position than many. I needed a job mainly for my wellbeing and I had a safety net. Others don’t, there’s a lot of people struggling right now, and Twining Enterprise is supporting them.
I know without Ahmed’s help I wouldn’t have got to where I’m at now so fast. I don’t know how long I would have been out of work for. This process of getting back would have taken much longer. Thanks to him I’m exciting about my new role, and back on track.
I’m incredibly grateful that Twining Enterprise services exist, and encourage others to use them. I donated some money as a thank you, but more than anything I hope my story can inspire others that they can overcome challenges and fulfil their aspirations.